GILMER - Upshur County District Attorney Billy Byrd said Tuesday night it appears the Republican runoff election for Precinct 1 county commissioner will be voided and held again because the wrong ballots were erroneously given to some voters at one polling place in that precinct.
Byrd said he confirmed that some voters at the county “Rock Building” in Gilmer received ballots that did not have the race between incumbent James Crittenden and Paula Gentry. He said he had not yet determined the “extent” of the error, but it appears “they're going to end up having to have this (commissioner) election over again.”
Byrd said the loser of Tuesday's race could file a legal challenge to it, probably necessitating another election.
Crittenden, who trailed Mrs. Gentry 331-183 in early voting, said Tuesday night he would challenge the election if he lost. Asked if she would do so as well, Mrs. Gentry said it would depend on the margin by which she trailed.
The correct ballots were in the building where Tuesday's mistake occurred, “but somebody wasn't paying attention” and handed out the wrong ones, Byrd said.
Crittenden contacted the Tyler Morning Telegraph about the error less than 45 minutes before the polls were scheduled to close Tuesday night. Byrd said Crittenden also contacted him.
The district attorney said he confirmed the mistake and that there were “actual witnesses” who brought the glitch to Crittenden's attention.
Byrd, Crittenden and Mrs. Gentry also said County Clerk Brandy Lee was not to blame for the problem. Byrd pointed out the polling place had the correct ballots.